Veterans who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as their families should know about and understand special benefits from VA.  Special and beneficial because under some circumstances veterans are not required to show a link between an illness and service in the military.

Veterans of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, or known as Gulf War Veterans, who are diagnosed with certain health conditions, are presumed by VA to have been caused by military service.  The process for health care and VA disability compensation benefits is faster and easier because VA assumes a link between symptoms and military service.

Unexplained symptoms are presumed to be related to Gulf War military service.  A veteran of the Gulf War is required to have experienced these symptoms for at least six months, and the illness, known as a presumptive illness, had to have appeared during active duty in the theater of operations, known as the Southwest Asia theater of operations – or, no later than by December 31, 2016.  Also, the illness must be at least 10% disabling, as determined by the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

Four Gulf War Presumptive Illnesses:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: not diminished or relieved by rest, and not caused by another illness
  • Fibromyalgia: widespread pain in the muscles.  Also – insomnia, stiffness in the morning, headaches and memory loss or confusion.
  • Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: any chronic or recurrent symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.  The functional part means abnormal functioning of an organ. For instance, irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia and functional abdominal pain syndrome.
  • Undiagnosed Illnesses: for example – abnormal weight loss, tiredness, cardiovascular disease, joint and muscle pain, headaches, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological disorders, skin problems, respiratory and sleep problems.

Woman veterans should take note, and learn more.

Veterans of the Gulf War fully earned and deserve help from VA, veterans’ advocates including Veterans Service Organizations [VSOs] and Veterans Law Attorneys, to get these benefits.